Clarification of AES’s gas link

Your article comments on the fact that Bob Bruce of Eastern Group is a director of AES, but that his company has refused to sign up to the AES Code. You may be unaware of the background to this.

In July Bob Bruce was elected chairman of the Gas Forum.

The Gas Forum is the forum for the UK gas shipping and supply industry, that is the companies shipping gas from beach terminals through the national gas pipeline system operated by British Gas Transco, and the companies which supply gas to consumers in the industrial, commercial and domestic gas markets.

The principal objectives of the Gas Forum are:

1. To promote the safe and efficient supply and use of gas.

2. To promote an open, effective and competitive gas market.

3. To form a channel of communication between the Gas Forum membership and Government, the Department of Trade & Industry, Ofgas, the Gas Consumers Coun cil and other national and inter national bodies and institutions.

4. To provide the principal forum for steering the development of the industry.

5. To contribute to standards and codes of practice for safety and operations in the industry.

6. To provide representatives of the industry for professional, standard setting and other bodies relevant to the industry.

Because the Gas Forum is not set up to police or enforce codes of practice, it has suggested that its supplier members should also join an appropriate self-regulatory body, and has actively supported the establishment of the AES for this purpose. The chairman of the Gas Forum is a director of the AES, and the chairman of the Gas Forum Suppliers Section is a member of the AES Panel.

The chairman of the Gas Forum is elected by the membership. In a highly competitive industry, the chairman is required to maintain strict impartiality. Indeed, at meetings when his own company may have a particular interest to support, the chairman’s company is separately represented.

Following his election as chairman of the Gas Forum, Bob Bruce agreed to serve as a director of the AES in an ex officio capacity – nothing to do with the Eastern Group. Since being elected chairman of the Gas Forum, Bob has been scrupulous in differentiating between his role as chairman and the interests of his employer. It is unfortunate that you have, doubtless unwittingly, made a false and unfair point in associating Bob’s position on the AES board and his position as an Eastern Group executive.

It would have been wrong for Bob Bruce, as chairman of the Gas Forum, to have refused to serve on the AES board because his own company had not signed up to the AES code.

Henry Boyd

Secretary general

The Gas Forum

London W1

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